On Thursday things changed at the Cedar Key Beacon website. What you once saw for free now will be available only to those who subscribe to the Beacon.
We are asking you to pay for the information we put on the Internet because it must help pay the cost of producing the stories and photographs.
The Citizen employs about 20 people: me, Ada, Mark, Mike, Tom, Melissa, Cheri, Bev, Marcia, Becky, Gina, John (No. 1), John (The Other One), Kitty, Fred, Billy, Paula, Gary, Bill, and several mice who reside in our offices and warehouse. We also have folks in Williston who help us: Carolyn, Deb, Chris and Steve.
Like you we have the responsibilities of homes, bills, vehicles, food and buy the necessities of life in Levy County. Let's not forget my two cats who need grooming, feeding and visits with the vet — who, by the way, also lives in Levy County. And the Carnivore demands food, clothing and massive amounts of coffee. Coffee — I think the price of that stuff has gone higher than the space shuttle's last trip.
As a business we must pay for paper, ink, mileage, maintenance, utilities, documents, insurance, taxes and postage.
We have long-term personal and business investments in Levy County. We contribute to the community. I'm sure no one thinks my apple tart at the cake auction is a big commitment, but many groups count on us to help with fund-raising ads, promotions and gifts.
We keep our press busy by actively seeking out other papers to print. That brings revenue, employment and taxes to Levy County. We also seek out new equipment to bring you more in your paper — a new camera, a new scanner, new computer equipment and software.
I know some folks will be aghast at the idea of paying for something that was previously free. I've spoken to subscribers of our print edition who are aghast to learn they pay for something that is free on the web.
Bottom line, ask yourself: Are you willing to give your work away for free?
For our subscribers, everything on the website will be available to them — including newsworthy items that happen between editions. One example is the Suwannee River Fair. Once we start pay-as-you-go, the daily updates will be available only to those who subscribe.
For those who do not have a subscription, you will be able to see the advertisements, and limited items like the calendar, pet of the week and the blogs. You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial.
If you like what you see, we hope you will consider subscribing.
Right now we are running a couple of specials for folks living in Levy County:
• If you sign up online you cen get $5 off the regular $26 per year subscription. That's $21 for the print edition and online access.
• If you come into the office at 624 W. Park Ave., Chiefland, you not only get $5 off the subscription cost, we'll also give you a $5 gift card for BubbaQue's. And you get the print edition and online access.
If you only want online access, it will cost the same as a subscription.
I know this blog is long, but we have debated this move for a long time.
I hope that if you are a viewer and not a subscriber you will become one.
If you want to talk to me or anyone at the Beacon about this, call 352- 493-4796. The staff can assure you I am always willing to talk.